Supporting Carers Week 2013

To celebrate the launch of Carers Week, 10-16 June 2013, I recently met with actress Lynda Bellingham in Parliament, to recognise the contribution that carers in Oldham make on a daily basis.

Carers Week is an opportunity to celebrate the 6.5 million carers across the UK and raise awareness of the impact that caring has on people’s lives.

In 2013 Carers Week will be focusing on whether the nation is Prepared to Care? The campaign highlights how the UK’s current carer population is coping, how effectively government is supporting the growing numbers of carers, and whether the wider population is prepared for future caring responsibilities.

As part of Carers Week, a number of events will be held in and around Oldham, to help carers access support and advice. Carers can find out what’s going on at www.carersweek.org.

Every day across Oldham 1 in 8 people will care for a loved one in some form. This hidden group of people give up their time, sometimes their jobs and often make life changing sacrifices to care for someone.

Carers save this country an incredible £119 billion1 every year. That’s why I believe as a society we must be Prepared to Care for our carers.

My experience of caring for my mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease, has taught me the challenges and stresses of caring for a family member.

To demonstrate that we value the work done by unpaid carers, we must make sure we recognise the demands involved and do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for people to continue to care. This includes ensuring the provision of health, psychological or financial support carers require.

It’s also important to recognise the unique challenges faced by young carers who are often given huge responsibilities and can become isolated amongst their peers, often affecting them for the rest of their lives.

However, we should also remember how rewarding it can be to care for a loved one and encourage those who are willing to do so to take up this responsibility. The role of carers is extremely important and their contribution to building a supportive society is immeasurable.

Lynda Bellingham told me how she and her sister cared for their mother when she had Alzheimer’s and the first-hand experience of the impact that caring can have on someone’s life, which was why she was so keen to show her support for Carers Week.

You can keep up to date with Carers Week and events happening in Oldham at: www.carersweek.org www.facebook.com/carersweek or on Twitter @carersweek

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